DTC GT15 Fiesta Review

When Samsung first introduced the idea that there's no such thing as too big a phone, detractors were quick to attack, saying that this and that is a smartphone's perfect size, and going beyond that was sacrilege. Turns out there was a market for such phones, and every brand followed suit soon after.

The DTC GT15 Fiesta is no exclusion. It's among the biggest Androids the local smartphone industry has to offer, and it's definitely with the performers. With its huge display, powerful innards, and good camera capabilities, it does really stand up to its name, as you can do a fiesta right on your screen (movie party on the go, anyone?). However, one would most likely find trouble handling such a beast, as we did experience ourselves first-hand. Here's our review.

Design

Make no mistake about it: The DTC GT15 Fiesta bears heavy semblance to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. That said, its general aesthetics doesn't need much explaining, unless of course you're not familiar with the latter. It's also as thick as the Galaxy Note 2. For what it's worth though, it carries this specific "look" great.

DTC GT15 Fiesta Front

The GT15 Fiesta's front boasts a 6-inch display, soft-touch haptic buttons (including a physical home button), a front-facing camera, and a proximity sensor. What's noticeably missing here is a notification LED. It could've used one, too.


The rear side meanwhile carries its 13-megapixel camera (with the flash directly beneath it), the "Fiesta" and "DTC" logos respectively, and its loudspeaker located at the bottom. I personally found the matte feel of the plastic back very favorable, as it provides grip in certain instances, prevents too much fingerprint markings, and is nice to the touch. Don't squeeze too much though, as the shell is a little bit soft that it might creak, though admittedly is very flexible.

DTC GT15 Fiesta Back

The sides meanwhile carry the sleep/wake button, the volume rocker, a 3.5mm audio port, and a microUSB port.

The DTC GT15 Fiesta sadly doesn't feature any built-in stylus. Imagine how much creativity a stylus would add to the Fiesta's 6-inch display.

Display

The DTC GT15 Fiesta boasts a 6-inch qHD display with a 960 x 580 resolution. A combination of such a large real estate with a minimal resolution usually proves unacceptable to the smartphone bearing it, but the Fiesta was able to successfully deliver an acceptable size-to-display ratio, albeit by a small margin. That said, I haven't observed movies losing detail in the Fiesta's screen; colors looked crisp and sharp. There's some room for color accuracy though, as whites are reproduced with a pronounced tinge of blue. Lastly, viewing angles are decent and you can turn the phone around whichever way you please without the screen looking funny.

As big as it is, the Fiesta only features a 5-point multitouch capability. We tested the multitouch via the phone's debugging menu and it displays up to 5 only. Then again, how are you going to utilize 10-point multitouches? It's not like you're going to put all ten fingers and play games, right?

DTC GT15 Fiesta Display

The DTC GT15 Fiesta sports a stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean display, with little to no modifications both on the home screen and the drawer. It also comes with stock Android widgets. The only portion that's different in the Fiesta is its wallpapers; they've missed a branding opportunity here by leaving the default wallpaper a mountain instead of their logo. I'm not complaining though as it's nice as it is.

Touch sensitivity is a little lacking: You need to give the smartphone a tap or two for touch to register. There's also some delay in gaming control, though it's more attributable to the hardware.

Sunlight resistance is okay. We haven't removed the plastic guard it came with and that definitely contributed to the glare we got from accessing it under the sun. The phone's maximum brightness eased that, and made the content on the display readable again.

Lastly, there's a built-in keyboard input that's similar to Swype, which is a nice addition seeing that it's quite difficult to maneuver the Fiesta with one hand.

Performance

A 1.2GHz quad-core MT6589 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a PowerVR SGX544MP GPU are what powers the DTC GT15 Fiesta. The hardware are already commonfare, so there's no reason the device won't be able to not perform what we expect from it.

On the storage side, the phone has an onboard 4GB internal storage which is divided to two: the Interal SD Card and the Phone Storage. There's also a microSD card slot where you can add an up to 32GB memory card to. Good thing to have if you're going to use this phone as a multimedia device.

Here's the benchmarks.

DTC GT15 Fiesta Benchmark

DTC GT15 Fiesta AnTuTu DTC GT15 Fiesta Quadrant Standard DTC GT15 Fiesta Vellamo HTML5 Metal DTC GT15 Fiesta 3D Mark

DTC GT15 Fiesta NenaMark 2

The main takeaway here is that, even though it boasts good hardware, it performed somewhat lower than expectations, as most phones with similar specifications scored a tad higher in the benchmarks. When you factor in that there's littler display stress on the hardware (due to the phone sporting a qHD resolution), you'll have to wonder where did the power go. Then again, benchmarks are just benchmarks - that is, numbers that don't relate to real world usage.

One thing smartphone enthusiasts would love is the device's USB OTG function. For the uninitiated, this enables the device to, among others, directly read contents of a flash drive (as long as the format of the contents are supported) without you having to course it through a computer. So say you have a ton of movies loaded on your flash drive. Just get a micro USB to USB OTG cable, plug everything together, and watch a movie. This also saves precious storage.

Sadly, the unit we had looked like it has issues. Whenever we would plug the smartphone to a computer via USB, the phone's system would go haywire, announcing repeating errors such as "Charger linked", followed shortly by "Charger unlinked", then followed again by the former. There's also times that gigs of games that we downloaded would suddenly get corrupted and/or disappear when it was working great upon installation. We honestly don't have an idea why, because every aspect of the smartphone was working well and it didn't seem like there were any problems. If it was just the unit we tested, good. At least the issue is containted with our unit. But if it's not an isolated issue, then I think we have a problem.

GPS lock was also an issue; we never got the device to lock in anything. And that was after waiting for minutes on end.

On the SIM side, the phone sports a dual SIM feature: 1 micro-SIM slot for 3G connectivity, and 1 mini SIM (by mini I mean regular) for 2G. Network signals are strong on both channels. It's also dual-SIM dual-standby, not dual-active.

Audio and Video

Videos with resolutions lower than 720p look at times blurry and pixelated when being reproduced, especially on a lower resolution display. Fortunately that's not a problem with the GT15 Fiesta. Nowadays I always try to run a standard high definition NASA rocket launch video on devices just to see who gets the smoke effect on the video correctly; the Fiesta reproduced the video with acceptable accuracy and very barely noticeable distortions. I'm a little bit surprised, because a 6-incher on qHD is a stretch regarding video quality, but as I've mentioned earlier, the DTC GT15 Fiesta was able to deliver.

DTC GT15 Fiesta Audio Video

On the sound side, the GT15 Fiesta sounds acceptable. The audible variables you need for an okay experience are there, such as okay highs, mids, and lows, though everything has room for improvement. Then again, I haven't heard any smartphone play good sound aside from the HTC One, not that there's much competition anyway. And to date, almost all smartphones still have their speakers positioned towards the back, which makes the soundwaves travel against you. Lay them flat on a table or at a cushion while watching and they will definitely sound muffled, as the sound get degraded and absorbed. But I digress.

The earpiece on calls also sound okay, though for me personally the maximum volume can go higher.

Gaming

It's a given that huge screens give the best gaming experience when playing, and this principle applies universally: PlayStation, Xbox, PC—you name it, it's better to play on a big screen. And it's also absolutely true in the GT15 Fiesta. Playing hack and slash games like Dungeon Hunter 4 or Eternity Warriors 3 on a 4.7-inch phone makes you squint on the display, pulling your device closer to see the details (even if you have 20/20 vision). On the other hand, playing such on the Fiesta gives you the ability to see all the details with little to no squinting.

DTC GT15 Fiesta Gaming

Heavier games such as Asphalt 8 and N.O.V.A. 3 ran fine on medium settings, with the tilt sensors working properly and the FPS touch controls as well, though I have to say that there's very mild choking at some points. You won't notice it unless you intently look for it. The device gets warm after a few minutes of gaming.

At this point, there's nothing not to like with the GT15 Fiesta: The display's huge, there's an OTG function, and it can play most games you throw at it too.

Camera

The DTC GT15 Fiesta sports a 13-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. At first glance, I like it because it doesn't spout the 18-megapixel nonsense other brands do (mainly because most of them are interpolated, though admittedly there's nothing wrong with that, unless you're a purist).

DTC GT15 Fiesta Camera

If you love taking photos and selfies, you'll appreciate both the Fiesta's front and rear cameras. The 13-megapixel camera captures fairly beautiful images, even at night, as evidenced by the sample images below. The camera is also capable of up to 4x digital zoom: there's still some level of detail present, but the images you capture will definitely be moderately blurred.

Shutter speed is a bit slow, and is made slower by the ever autofocusing camera before capturing; you better have pretty steady hands to hold the phone for a few quick seconds more before the shutter closes or else you'll have a blurred image. You can enable the Zero Shutter Speed Delay option on the camera though.



4x digital zoom


There's some softness on the images captured under strong late morning/afternoon sunlight. But as far as the image quality goes, colors are accurate and noise is minimal. You can also mask your images with the stock filters built into the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean camera dash. Be warned: The flash itself is a little weak.

The 2-megapixel front camera meanwhile makes for a good selfie since it captures images in dim and indoor lighting fairly well. The noise level is also acceptable, and it's nothing a few image filters won't fix.

Battery

The GT15 Fiesta has a removable 2700mAh Li-ion battery under its hood. At this size, it needs more juice in my opinion (at least 400mAh more, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has 3100mAh), but the current battery rating gets the job done.


Bouts of gaming, browsing the web on WiFi, and viewing videos, plus standby time on medium brightness consumed around 50% of the juice on a 7-hour usage. Based on this, and given the same conditions, the Fiesta will last another 7 hours, making the total battery life—give or take—around 14 hours.

Verdict

Ask anyone to tell you a 6-inch smartphone and they'll probably answer the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, the Huawei Ascend Mate, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, or the Cherry Mobile Titan TV. While there's totally no surprise there (as they're the better known brands), you should inform them about the DTC GT15 Fiesta because it's definitely a contender at the 6-inch phablet category.

The DTC GT15 Fiesta falls short on some aspects: quality (as evidenced by our missing and corrupted games, GPS, and the charger linking issue), benchmark scores, and audio. Admittedly we're not sure if it's just because our unit is a lemon, but quality control should have filtered this in the first place (then again, most smartphone brands are guilty of shortchanging customers. Some give them stuck pixel phones and make it a very difficult ordeal to get it exchanged for a fixed unit).

DTC GT15 Fiesta Review

That said, these did not prevent us from enjoying what the Fiesta had to offer. It mightily runs great games, it can serve as your micro office (plug in an OTG keyboard and type away), and it can be your multimedia center all in one. It also looks gorgeous, no doubt about that, as that Samsung-esque beauty reeks throughout the handset.

For P8,888 (SRP), the DTC GT15 Fiesta is something worth considering if you're looking for a dual-SIM phablet.

DTC GT15 Fiesta Specifications

DTC GT15 Fiesta Specifications

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